It was so much more than his father’s wedding ring. Greg Bell, resident of Wales, Wisconsin, had just received it from his mother a few days after his father died. She wanted him to have it. In addition, the ring had a single diamond that once graced his grandmother’s wedding ring. Now, barely a week after his father’s death, the precious heirloom was gone. Greg’s grief was compounded by the loss.
I received a phone call from Greg asking for assistance. With over four decades of metal-detecting experience, I’ve learned the value of forensics, of establishing an accurate timeline—a precise chronology of activities beginning with when the ring is known for certain to be on a client’s hand and ending the moment its disappearance became evident. My job is to focus on areas of highest probability, to work from the known to the unknown. So, with the help of his wife, Greg set about to review his timeline.
After spending time refining the timeline and following my suggestions for further searching, Greg contacted me again. Narrowing down the possible areas of loss, he established that there was a high probability he lost the ring while cutting his one-acre lawn. But an acre of grass can be formidable when searching for a postage-stamp-sized ring. It would be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Where to start? An engineer by trade, Greg had done his homework. The law of probabilities pointed to three areas where a small hand mower was used to trim more difficult sections near the house. These locations would be our starting point.
I quickly eliminated two of the sections using an XP Deus, wireless detector. Then, just as I was finishing up the third, a solid chirp in my headset invited closer examination. The numeric signal mirrored conductivity values consistent with gold. At first glance nothing was visible in the thick grass but when I parted the green blades a flash of gold betrayed the ring’s hiding place! And Greg’s smile tells the rest of the story!